Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Howard ranks the Oscar nominees

The Academy Awards are Sunday night, and I continued my tradition of seeing all the Best Picture nominees before the show, which means cramming a lot of movies into February.  Thanks goodness there were no insufferable nominees (think: Saving Private Ryan) this year.  Here, in my cinematically uneducated style, is how I would rank this year's choices, from "Most deserving to win the Best Picture Oscar" to "Lesser deserving."

1.  Hugo.  Okay, call me sappy, but I think this is a terrific movie, 3D or not.  Martin Scorcese shows that he is a superior director no matter what kind of movie he makes.
2.  The Artist.  I admit that I've gone back and forth on this, and maybe tomorrow I would have picked The Artist as #1.  It's the most innovative of the nine nomineees, and it showed that a silent, black-and-white film can be very entertaining in the 21st Century.  The dog steals the movie.
3.  Midnight in Paris.  If you don't know who Hemingway and Fitzgerald and the other writers and artists in 1920s Paris were, you might be lost, but I hope that my blog readers do know who they were.  Woody Allen should get a Best Screenplay award.
4.  The Help.  Good book, good movie, my main complaint being that some of the characterizations, especially those of the white bigots, are just too cardboard, too stereotypical.  Octavia Spencer will win Best Supporting Actress.
5.  The Descendents.  This is a fine, solid movie, and with Hawaii and George Clooney, how can you go wrong?  Overall, though, I don't think it's a remarkable enough film to be a Best Picture.
6.  Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.  I liked this film way more than I thought I would.  I think it would have been better with an actor other than Tom Hanks as the dad who dies on 9/11 -- he just never stopped being Tom Hanks.
7.  Moneyball.  Baseball, the Oakland A's with a tiny payroll, Brad Pitt.  It's a fun David-vs.-Goliath flick.
8.  War Horse.  Spielberg, please stop using that uplifting, manipulating John Williams music in your films!  It's so distracting and irritating!  Very real-feeling World-War-1-in-the-trenches scenes.  Loved the horse.
9.  The Tree of Life.  It's one of those movies where you get to the end and say to yourself, "What the heck was that about??"  It maybe deserves a Best Cinematography award, though.

That's it from here.  Please watch the show Sunday night so that I have somebody to chat with next Monday.  It's okay to skip the red-carpet pre-show though, which gets more annoying by the year.


ruthie said...

I suppose I'll be watching the red carpet from home. It's one of my favorite parts of the day and I start watching at 4. You see people say all kinds of stupid things and it's fun to make fun of the worst dressed. :-)

Howard said...

Okay, okay... whenever you come over, we'll turn on the red carpet. Making sarcastic comments is one of my favorite pasttimes.

Jon said...

I'm surprised to see you put Hugo at #1, but it is the only one of the 9 that I have the slightest interest in seeing (and even so, I've easily lived without doing so). I can just imagine how bad the music in War Horse is! It's been 30 years since John Williams wrote music that inspired anything other than eye rolling and occasional nausea.

D. A. Dixon said...

"Saving Private Ryan" is insufferable?

Howard said...

Dean - I would have been disappointed if somebody didn't challenge me on Private Ryan -- Unnecessary D-Day gore plus all that John Williams music.

Jon said...

I've never seen SPR and I have no desire to, but it seems strange to me that someone would think a war movie shouldn't have gore. Wouldn't you be more offended if the violence of war was glossed over and ignored... you know, the way the so-called liberal media did a few years ago to keep GWB from being impeached?

Howard said...

@Jon -- To tell the truth, I'd just as soon not see war movies at all, but it was a nominee (and was also favored to win but fortunately did not)...The gore was way way over the top. He (Spielberg) more than made his point.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the delayed response, allow me a rebuttal.

I always liked Saving Private Ryan for what it was. It was WWII through the eyes of Spielberg. As far as the D Day Invasion, maybe it's because I've seen much worse examples of "gore" in film (the Saw series, and the truly insufferable Hostel films), that I saw it more as a realistic representation rather than an over the top portrayal. I mean, how else would you film a D Day invasion?

And, maybe it's because of my Star Wars leanings, but I've always loved John Williams scores. "Duel of the Fates" is a wonderful composition.

Back to SPR, besides it being somewhat long, I enjoyed nearly every frame.

D. A. Dixon said...

Sorry, the above comment was from me...

Howard said...

Dean -- I agree that John Williams music was perfect for Star Wars, but that was more than 30 years ago and he has been phoning in his music most of the time since then.

I'm not saying that SPR was a bad movie.. I'm saying that I hated sitting through it. I also avoid the Saw movies.

By the way, Dean, happy birthday. :-)